This article was written in collaboration with Ariela Benchoam, a youth leader of the Jewish Community of Guatemala.
During these times of crisis, uncertainty, and struggle, the principle of Tikun Olam becomes more relevant than ever. In Guatemala, a country that has become the capital of pro-Israel activism, the commitment of the Jewish Community is in a high stand.
In the past couple of months, the humanitarian branch of the Jewish Community of Guatemala, CADENA, has organized humanitarian missions to some of Guatemala’s most vulnerable locations, primarily focused on helping the heroes of COVID 19: the medical personal in public hospitals.
By uniting members of the Community, Cadena was able to carry out five humanitarian donations. Two of them were dedicated to supporting public hospitals located in the city. Thousands of gallons of cleaning products, food, and medical equipment were donated to the hundred of doctors working day and night to treat the most vulnerable parts of our society. The donations were received by the directors of the hospitals who showed their appreciation to the Community. The Minister of Economy of Guatemala published a video in his social media, where he thanked the Jewish Community for their donations and humanitarian work. The other three missions were focused on helping communities at high risk in rural areas of the country.
This past Shabbat, the women of the Community baked almost 500 Challot for the personnel of the first public hospital that treated COVID. “The Challah represents unity, and our connection to G’d. Every week we bake them and pray for the recovery of our sick ones. This week we want to send you this Challah so you can share it with your family,” said the note sent with the bread. In a mostly evangelical country, people require spiritual support as well.
Guatemala has been a leader in the pro-Israel world. From 1947, lobbying for the creation of the state of Israel, to two years ago, reopening its embassy in Jerusalem, the relationship of these two countries is an example of true friendship. In these difficult moments, the Jewish Community of Guatemala will continue to show its appreciation to a country that has done so much for Israel.
As the rest of the world, the Jewish Community of Guatemala is dealing with an unprecedented economic crisis. Every member of the Community contributed to making these missions possible, showing once again the uniqueness of the Jewish world and giving a new meaning to the Tanach phrase “Kol Israel Arevim Ze be Ze” – All Israel is responsible for one another. In times of Coronavirus, “Kulanu Arevim Ze be Ze,” We all are responsible for one another.